John O. Crites completed the A.B. degree in history from Princeton University in 1950 (magna cum laude) and the Ph.D. degree in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University in 1957. He made a number of significant professional contributions at the University of Iowa where he started the Counseling Psychology Program in 1958. He was the Head of the Counseling Psychology Program and the Director of the University Counseling Service until he moved to the University of Maryland in 1971 as a Professor of Psychology. In 1981, he was hired as a research professor at Kent State University; in 1985, he became Director of the Counseling Psychology Program at Northwestern University; and he became a Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver as he moved into retirement.
Over the years Crites was a very productive professional person and a leader in the field of counseling and vocational psychology. He authored or coauthored four textbooks, 15 chapters, seven monographs, and 35 published manuscripts. Two books (Appraising Vocational Fitness, revised with Donald Super, and Vocational Psychology) were early and very original contributions to integrating theory, data, and practice in the field of vocational psychology and career development. His book Career Counseling: Models, Methods, and Materials was one of the first attempts to present theories of career counseling within a data-based perspective. He also served on a number of editorial boards during his long and distinguished career.
Honors and awards include the American Board of Professional Psychology Diplomate in Counseling Psychology, the American Personnel and Guidance Association Research Award in 1966, the Merit Award from the National Vocational Guidance Association in 1973, the Recognition Award from the Association of Measurement and Evaluation and Guidance in 1973, the Eminent Career Award from the National Vocational Guidance Association in 1984, and the Walter F. Storey Award from the American Society for Training and Development in 1985. He was a Fellow of the Division of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1972 he served as the President of the Division of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association.
His most notable contributions were twofold. He wrote the first major text defining the field of Vocational Psychology (1969) that has had a long-term influence on research and training in counseling psychology. His operationalization of and theorizing about the vocational development view of careers set the stage for much of the work that followed. In particular, the Vocational Development Attitude Scale, the Decision-Making Competency Scales, and the Career Maturity Inventory were the forerunners of many current scales and inventories.
Crites had a distinguished career of original research, scholarship, and application as well as of outstanding service and leadership. He was clearly one of the outstanding contemporary counseling psychologists of our time. His theoretical concepts, insights, and empirical research have had a significant influence on the field of counseling and vocational psychology. Crites passed away in March 2007.
- Crites, J. O. (1965). Measurement of vocational maturity in adolescence: Attitude Test of the Vocational Development Inventory. Psychological Monographs, 79(2, Whole No. 595).
- Crites, J. O. (1969). Vocational psychology: The study of vocational behavior and its development. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Crites, J. O. (1973). Theory and research handbook for the Career Maturity Inventory. Monterey, CA: CTB/McGraw-Hill.
- Crites, J. O. (1981). Career counseling: Models, methods, and materials. New York: McGraw-Hill.